US Secretary Of State Calls Canada’s Northwest Passage Claim “Illegitimate”

Mike Pompeo made the remarks in a wide-ranging speech about security in the Arctic.

The Trump Administration appears increasingly concerned about the growing presence of China and Russia in the Arctic, and those concerns appear to be bringing up doubts about Canada’s claims in the region.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Canada’s claim to the Northwest Passage “illegitimate.”

Here’s the context of his remarks:

“No one denies Russia has significant Arctic interests,” Pompeo said in a transcript of remarks circulated by the U.S. State Department. “We recognize that Russia is not the only nation making illegitimate claims. The U.S. has a long-contested feud with Canada over sovereign claims through the Northwest Passage.”

Currently, Canada and the US have gentleman’s agreement of sorts, where Canada is allowed to claim the Northwest Passage while the US politely disputes it. So, Pompeo didn’t make new policy with his remarks, but he did express US views more forcefully than before.

The subtext to all of this is that Russia is engaged in a large-scale buildup on their Arctic territory, and China is making increasing inroads into the region as well.

Meanwhile, Canada has only a token Arctic presence, and our northern territory is undefended and disregarded by the federal government. Our military weakness makes it impossible for us to defend our northern territories.

And since we share a military alliance with the United States, we can expect more pressure to come from our neighbours to the North.

As I’ve long been saying – and before this latest incident – Canada needs to build up our military, including building up our ability to defend the Canadian Arctic.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube

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Well, we better use it or lose it…


We better use it or lose… We’ve had plenty of time to use it but…


It’s time to ramp up Port Churchill in Manitoba and have a major Coast Guard base there. As well, due to the fact that the Canada’s Arctic is ice free now in the Arctic passageways, we should be exporting Alberta’s oil from Port Churchill also. The pipelines can be built from Alberta alongside the existing rail lines to Port Churchill. This will give employment to the Inuit also and will be much cheaper than going up the Rocky Mountains or all across land to Canada’s east. And we can export Alberta’s oil by tankers both West across the Pacific (… Read more »


China and Russia could establish a military and economic presence in the Arctic Islands and Canada could do absolutely nothing except give up any claims. On some islands we might not even find out. All we have right now is a few Inuit with WW2 rifles on quads or snowmobiles. Big deal. Who is going to stop them? Trudeau? Hahahahaha.


Stephen Harper used to make a point of visiting the Arctic something like once a year. He wanted Canada’s presence there to be visible to the nations. Good luck getting Trudeau up to the Arctic…no vacation destinations or photo ops for him up there.

Major Tom

How can a ‘post national narco state’ with ‘no core values’…..with a military that couldn’t fill a football stadium…..make a claim to any piece of real estate?

Thomas Tass

Gentlemen’s agreement? No such thing in today’s political environment. Our American cousins know that they are faced with a neighbor that has a very weak leadership managing a failing economy and is becoming an unreliable partner militarily. Its about pro’s versus amateurs. Sad but true.


Spencer would be correct . and this subject is not new . Harper made an effort to ramp up Canadas presence in the Arctic shortly after he took office for these same reasons . Its not likely he made significant progress though as his first 2 terms were minority government and Canadas military building/procurement capabilities have long been retarded. Rand Corporation just completed another study on Amercicas security short comings and they are already overextended policing the world, ie Russia , China , N Korea, Iran , middle east . Mexican border and yes the Arctic . So Canada needs… Read more »